Welcome to a round-up of the latest additions to The Africanist.
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There are seven new articles.
The first is about the importance of language of a descriptor for community representation. Gus John debates the merits of various labels such as BME, BIPOC and many more in between. The article explores the terminology we use to denote racial identity and ethnicity. John asserts that language matters by conveying the relationship between power and how we frame identities.
The second article is by the National Trust who care for some of the nation’s buildings and collections. They have worked with other partners to identify direct and indirect links to slavery and colonialism. This article draws out how slavery has been woven into the fabric of British and global history. It tells of how for 400 years, white British people, companies and organisations gained huge amounts of wealth through the appalling exploitation of enslaved people as part of the slave trade.
This third is by Ife Thompson about the need for ‘Movement Lawyers’, a relatively new approach and a means of providing legal services that is rooted in the community with a physical presence there too. It recognises the need for change so that support is given at grassroots level so that those affected are able to shape the process rather than being constrained by the established legal framework. Evelyn A. Williams, Michael Mansfield and Ian Macdonald are cited as examples of the early pioneers in this approach.
The fourth is a short commentary by Michael Gidney of the Fairtrade Foundation in which he reflects on the links between slavery, racial injustice and the need for change in global trade. He asserts that the fact remains that the drive for “ever cheaper products comes at the expense of farmers, with risks and costs passed down the supply chain until there is no value left for those who actually produce”.
The fifth article is by Sydney Trent in the Washington Post which looks at racism within the suffrage movement that has erased the participation of African American marchers from the cause. This racism ensured that the women were not permitted to take visible presence at the time an issue that has been highlighted again by the art installation at Union Station, Washington, a place of relevance to the life of Ida G Wells.
The sixth article is by Pamela Newkirk who has written extensively about Ota Benga, a Congolese man who was kidnapped and caged as a zoo exhibit 114 years ago in the monkey house at New York’s Bronx Zoo. Benga was never returned to his homeland and yet it has taken until now for the zoo to apologise and acknowledge the wrong that was done after years of misinformation and denial. This article includes a link to the digitialised documents of the correspondence relating to his time in captivity.
The seventh article is by Chisomo Kalinga who looks at the imbalance of power and interest between European researchers and indigenous populations that can lead to skewed outcomes. She highlights a reluctance to acknowledge the possibility of coercion practices as it impacts on time and research methodology. The drive to maintain the status quo can mean that those who raise issues are penalised. She also observes that the benefit to the indigenous community can be minor and short-lived compared to that of the researchers.
There are two new films.
The first is the James McTaggart lecture for the Edinburgh TV festival delivered by broadcaster and historian David Olusoga. In this, Olusoga outlines the fact that racism has led to a ‘lost generation’ of minority ethnic people in the UK TV industry.
The second is a film by the Colonial Film Unit (Ministry of Information) showing the arrival in London of numerous soldiers from all over the British Empire. This victory parade took place over a year after V.E. Day on 8th July 1946. The commentary is questionable, but this footage provides the opportunity to get a more realistic view of those who contributed to the war effort.
There are two podcast additions.
The first is a suite of recordings by Africa Writes focused on Race, Anti-racism and African literature. It offers of selection of conversations from 2016 to 2019.
The second is from a BBC Programme about Food and the Legacy of Slavery. This explores how what we eat, our palates and our bodies are still reflective of the brutal slavery put in place by European powers. James Walvin and Michael Twitty make fascinating guests who are able to shed greater light on the subject.
The new directory entry is Show Racism the Red Card, which is the largest anti-racism educational charity established by the former Newcastle United goalkeeper Shaka Hislop. He uses his platform and other high-profile professional players to help tackle racism in society through educational workshops.
- Articles – language in labelling, National Trust, Community-led lawyers, Fairtrade, Racism within suffrage, Ota Benga and Bronx Zoo, European researchers
- Film – David Olusoga’s MacTaggart lecture, WWII Victory Parade
- Podcasts – Africa Writes 2016-19, Food and the legacy of slavery
- Show Racism the Red Card
Image – A range of goods for sale at a roadside kiosk (Credit: Holly Walton)